The latest Putumayo Kids disc is a delightful musical romp through the European continent. While I have nominal experience with European musical traditions, I was more excited about the European Playground CD then any other from the leader in handsomely packaged world music compilations. This is largely because I'm an unabashed lover of most things European (universal healthcare, a real sense of history, walled cities, etc.)
With airfare (and checked luggage fees) at unreasonable levels and the greenback as depressed as the rest of the U.S. economy, a fresh baguette, some tapas, a sippy of Jus de pomme, and this European Playground CD might be your family's best chance to tour Europe this summer.
Even if Putumayo is your sole passport to the other side of the pond this year, you're in luck because this disc is tres bon! European Playground is an eclectic, upbeat collection of tunes that, like bangers & mash, work rather well together. This is no small feat for a compilation spanning a dozen countries and multiple musical styles. The selection of tracks by Putumayo is once again unmatched, with no one track serving as the estrella of the set. While no single cut is going to jump off the disc and demand that you employ the repeat button (Ian F. Benzie's gorgeous "I'se The B'y" comes the closest) the entire 15 song collection is as perfect for multiple spins during an adult dinner party as it is while your kiddos pretend to serve their stuffed animals steak frites and plates of serrano ham and manchego cheese.